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Review: "Big Data and Charter School - What? Sisense delivers big time"
https://www.trustradius.com/business-intelligence-biSisenseUnspecified8.788101
Daniel Colussi profile photo
Updated December 06, 2014

Review: "Big Data and Charter School - What? Sisense delivers big time"

Score 9 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
Business
Modules Used
Elasticube, prism builder

Overall Satisfaction with Sisense

Sisense is used to give our educators on staff real-time feedback on the performance of their students. Using various coding techniques the dashboards are directly integrated into our student management system. All staff members across the state utilize the product. It addressed the need for all key performance data located in one place and in a timely manner.
  • Elasticube technology simple to use - extremely flexible and easy to use. You have many built in plugins to connect to multiple sources of data and the ability to build an API connector if needed.
  • Short Development time - build comprehensive dashboards on the fly and push changes instantly to the web
  • Customer service - big strength here. They have a very responsive support staff that will help you figure out any issue. I have them all on Skype if that tells you how accessible they are.
  • Discrepancies between what you see in the designer and how it is displayed on the web. It does not look as polished when published. Fortunately I have been already shown a sneak peek into the upcoming v5 and they moved the designer completely to the web.
  • Documentation on how to accomplish some things is sometimes left to much to the interpretation of the user. I would like to see a more comprehensive guide in different areas such as their API designer and some of their SQL design pieces.
  • Some stability issues within the prism web environment. Not sure if this is something at fault on my end or theirs.
I absolutely love this product. However, they are moving to a new version that is almost a total redesign of the product. It remains to be seen how much work will be involved to transition.
I don't write many glowing reviews but this company has all the right things going for it. This product is particularly suited to companies with little fat in the IT side of things. One person with middling to good computer know-how can create everything they would need. Your prism web and elasticube can run on some pretty inexpensive hardware. The place where I placed emphasis was in lots of RAM and a fairly decent multi-core processor. To round it off, my biggest measure of how my experience is going to fare is the priority of the vendor in the area of customer service and it is superb.

Using Sisense

250 - These staff members represent all areas of what you would term a typical school district. Teaching, finance, administration, support, etc are part of this.
1 - Yes. Just me. Realize that my primary background is education but I have a pretty thorough knowledge of C#, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, and database design. As one of our vendors described me, "Enough to be thoroughly dangerous." I take that as a compliment.
  • Tracking of student engagement - being able to identify our students that are starting to disengage in order to pull wrap around services into play is important with our high at-risk student population.
  • Support for Coaches - easy drill down for school administration to see where hot spots are occurring. Allows for a quicker and more reasoned response to support.
  • Tracking of enrollment and paperwork - in a two month period of time we enroll several thousand students. Having dashboards that instantly convey that information directly to those who need it to engage and support from the word go is priceless.
  • The fact we were able to integrate so closely with Maestro, our student information system by a company called Bocavox gave both products a high profile within the organization.
  • Using some creative java scripting, I was able to seamlessly pull data from hidden fields to set the global scope of the dashboards. What this allowed was an instant customized view of only the data pertaining to the user and their role in the SIS. For example, a coach only saw their caseload of students assigned to them or a principal only saw data that pertained to their school site.
  • The sky is the limit here. I plan on bringing some real world big data into play soon. For example, wouldn't it be cool to be able to build the typical profile of our students with census data? We can overlay that data onto a geocoded map (yes Sisense does this) and get a feel of where best to spend our limited marketing dollars when looking at moving into a particular city or area.

Sisense Support

This team is one of the few companies where I can literally Skype them for help and they respond immediately. Most don't realize how rare that actually is in the industry. Expanding their presence to the eastern time zone of the United States has made them more accessible as a result.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
No - Sisense does not have levels of support according to pricing structures. They are dedicated to the client success at any level. Their initial line of support is extremely knowledgable as it is and when things have to elevate to a solution architect, the ensuing solutions become a part of the whole product and I believe it will make for a stronger product.
Unsure - Not sure if what I have asked for help on qualifies as a "bug" per se. Everything I request seems to be more in the realm of expanding functionality. When that occurs it has always been resolved quickly and to my satisfaction.
At one point we did not have an active directory built and available for use but I still needed the product to be responsive to allowing individuals to access their specific boards. As a team of just myself, I couldn't load in 100's of staff members myself so I had to embed Sisense into our student information system and pass variables via JavaScript. The support division of Sisense went out of their way to build a generalized user that would authenticate when any staff member logged into the SIS and allowed the java scripting to take over using filters. It was an awesome short term solution to help me meet a development deadline.

Using Sisense

New V5 is ground floor of an exciting collection of possibilities. Weekly Sisense developers come up with new functionality that they share with us in their forums. The move to HTML5 has been pleasing in that widgets auto size themselves into appropriate forms in the board but everyone of them can be popped out to full page size to be looked at in more detail.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
Requires technical support
  • New V5: Rapid reveal of data bought into an elasticube. You are literally able to create a few widgets and make that data available to anyone in less than a minute
  • New V5: Simple hookup of Active Directory to Sisense with automation of pulls from the AD easily setup. Truly set and forget.
  • New V5: Addition of groups from Active Directory one at a time. Would prefer a checkbox list and be able to apply all at once. Also, to be able to apply active directory choices to other folders of boards would be ideal. Currently you add one group at a time, dashboard by dashboard.